- FTSE 100 bounces off lows but still firmly lower
- Index at six-week low, finishes January down 3.5 per cent
- Eurozone CPI ramps up pressure on ECB
- BT leads risers on upbeat guidance
techMARK 2,774.88 -0.20%
FTSE 100 6,510.44 -0.43%
FTSE 250 15,674.37 -0.17%
The UK stock market finished the week in a choppy fashion as sharp losses suffered this afternoon were partly erased by the close of trade amid mixed economic data and corporate earnings from across the globe.
After a slow start, equities had sunk sharply into the red after an unexpected drop in Eurozone inflation renewed concerns over deflationary risks in the single-currency region.
Meanwhile, worries over the outlook for emerging markets that have weighed on stocks over the past week were continuing to hamper risk appetite today.
The FTSE 100 finished 28.01 points lower (-0.43%) at 6,510.44, having bounced off its intraday low of 6,421.26 reached after midday.
Nevertheless, the index still finished 2.3% lower than last Friday's closing price of 6,663.74, ending the month of January down 3.5%. It is now at its worst level since December 18th.
Stocks on Wall Street also started on the back foot after some disappointing earnings from blue chips Wal-Mart, Amazon.com and Mattel, along with a host of mixed economic indicators. US personal spending growth, a gauge of business activity in Chicago and the University of Michigan consumer confidence index all eased on the previous month, although the latter two came in slightly ahead of expectations.
Eurozone inflation ramps up pressure on ECB
Despite Mario Draghi's insistence earlier this week that last month's fall in inflation was just a blip, the annual rate of Eurozone consumer price inflation eased back to a four-year low of 0.7% this month.
This was down from 0.8% the month before and further below the European Central Bank's (ECB) target for inflation close to, but under, 2%.
This will now ramp up the pressure on the ECB President ahead of the policy meeting next week, given that inflation is now running at the same level it was in November when the ECB cut interest rates to a record-low 0.25%.
"The problem the ECB now faces is that any interest rate cut to, say, 0.1%, will probably have minimal impact, which means they will be forced to consider more unconventional measures," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari UK.
BT ups full-year guidance
Telecoms titan BT was a high riser after raising its earnings outlook for the year as its broadband fibre business and new BT Sport channels helped it to boost profits by 8% in the third quarter.
Next, which announced on January 3rd that it would pay a special dividend of 50p per share to shareholders on February 3rd, said it would make a further special dividend payment of 50p on May 1st, giving the stock a boost.
Drinks group Diageo was extending losses made yesterday when it disappointed investors with worse-than-expected first-half results after a slowdown in emerging markets. Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating on the stock to 'neutral' today and slashed its target price from 2,660p to 1,996p. Sector peers SABMiller and Coca-Cola HBC were also lower.
Goldman, however, gave tobacco giant Imperial a lift after upgrading its stance to 'conviction buy' and raising its target from 2,545p to 2,840p.
Asset manager Schroders was also performing well after Berenberg lifted the stock to 'buy' and hiked its target from 2,550p to 3,050p.
Pizza delivery chain Domino's was higher after saying Senior Non-Executive Director David Wild will be acting as Chief Executive until a replacement for Lance Batchelor is found. Credit Suisse also upgraded the stock to 'outperform' today.
Web and technology business Premier Farnell said that sales had picked up in the second half of the year but shares
fell sharply after the firm warned that operating margins would be flat next year.
FTSE 100 - Risers
BT Group (BT.A) 383.30p +3.34%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,448.00p +2.62%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,223.00p +1.88%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,313.00p +1.78%
BG Group (BG.) 1,022.00p +1.34%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,193.00p +1.23%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,187.00p +1.11%
William Hill (WMH) 332.40p +1.03%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,916.00p +0.92%
National Grid (NG.) 789.00p +0.90%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,613.00p -3.24%
Sage Group (SGE) 408.30p -2.90%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 390.80p -2.71%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 97.00p -2.66%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 850.50p -2.63%
ITV (ITV) 196.50p -2.63%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 790.50p -2.59%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,155.00p -2.45%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 340.00p -2.13%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,103.50p -2.05%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Perform Group (PER) 247.50p +5.32%
Keller Group (KLR) 1,184.00p +3.86%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 178.10p +3.85%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 114.50p +3.81%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 305.40p +3.42%
Serco Group (SRP) 437.10p +3.28%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 701.50p +3.16%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 528.50p +2.82%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 594.50p +2.68%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 161.00p +2.61%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Premier Farnell (PFL) 217.50p -7.09%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 57.70p -4.55%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 807.50p -3.58%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 172.50p -3.25%
Intu Properties (INTU) 315.60p -3.19%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 152.00p -2.94%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 17.50p -2.83%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 325.40p -2.25%
UBM (UBM) 680.00p -2.23%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 95.15p -2.21%